You would be hard pressed to find a can opener anywhere in the kitchen of Cilantro Mexican Grill. That's because the restaurant's chefs don't need one; they only cook with fresh ingredients. A typical day in their kitchen sees the chefs mashing the nutty flesh of ripe avocados into guacamole, slicing fresh tortillas to be fried and sprinkled with lime juice, and grilling adobo-seasoned chicken, steak, and fresh line-caught Atlantic pollock purchased from local fisherman at the docks of Point Judith, Rhode Island. Local growers get in on the action too, supplying the kitchen with tomatoes and onions. All five locations serve mason jar margaritas and craft beers with the Cranston location finding patrons sipping one of 20+ brews.
In true Mexican culinary tradition, the tortilla plays a major role at Cancun Family Mexican Restaurant, encasing an extensive selection of enchiladas, burritos, quesadillas, and chimichangas. But the menu also includes plenty of specialty entrees without corn or flour shells, such as pescado veracruz, a halibut fillet grilled with garlic and lemon and paired with rice and beans. There's also steak picado, strips of sirloin sautéed with onions and peppers, and chile verde, morsels of marinated pork loin colored with green tomatillo sauce and the rosiness of forks inflamed by the dish's spiciness.
For Anthony and Denise Sierra, California-style burritos aren't just a fast and healthy meal. They're a tribute to Mark Tryhubczak, the chef and friend who brought them together. After teaching Anthony and Denise to cook, Mark introduced the couple at his own burrito shop, Block Island Burrito Company. Together, the trio turned the fledgling business into a local gem in the early 1990s. Though Mark has sadly passed away, his legacy lives on through Anthony and Denise's joyful eatery, which helps patrons to build their own memories around plates of nachos and steaming bowls of chili. Anthony handcrafts the entire lineup of edibles each day, making every bite more refreshing than a mentholated dunk tank. Flour tortillas encase seven types of burritos, which teem with seasoned meats and colorful veggies such as bell peppers, sweet corn, and ripe red tomatoes. Instead of gift-wrapping microwaves and trimming sun rays with frosting, guests can celebrate heat waves on the patio while sipping festive margaritas and three types of sangria.
Voted South County’s best Mexican restaurant by Rhode Island Monthly readers in 2011 and 2012, El Fuego Mexican Grill boasts a BYOB policy and a menu packed with specialty burritos, tacos, and quesadillas. Some burritos stay classic—like the one stuffed with grilled steak, black beans, cheese, rice, sour cream, lettuce, and tomato—while others take a tasty twist, like the ranchero, which subs in ranch dressing and barbecue sauce for the standard sour cream. The brave can take the taco challenge and try to devour five fiery hot tacos in less than 20 minutes. Those who succeed without morphing into dragons earn an El Fuego T-shirt and bragging rights.
The menu at La Boca Mexican Restaurant & Cantina goes beyond the usual Tex-Mex fare. Alongside fajitas and quesadillas, you’ll find traditional tamales, slow-roasted pork shank, and hand-cut corn tortilla chips. A talented staff of servers and bartenders cultivate a laid-back, festive atmosphere, serving up Mexican beers on draft and a celebrated bloody mary that’s garnished with asparagus, cocktail shrimp, and grilled steak. The eatery's parchment-colored walls are covered with drawings of proud vaqueros and rustic Mexican scenery, forming an ideal backdrop for authentic dinners of mahi mahi tacos or jicama salad. Pub rockers, live karaoke backing groups, and cover bands provide a festive soundtrack.
The chefs at Acapulcos Mexican Family Restaurant & Cantina aim to cook authentic Mexican dishes unaltered by any Tex-Mex influence. Their recipes reach back generations within the owners' family and several miles into their underground tortilla vaults. Spanish-speaking servers deliver simple combinations of protein or veggies, topped with vibrant sauces: carne asada steak dressed in green pepper and guacamole, tender pork loin in tomatillo sauce, chicken in chocolate mole. The chefs' adherence to tradition doesn't preclude experimentation. Case in point: the dessert burrito, a lightly fried tortilla wrapped around apple-cinnamon or creamy cheesecake filling.
Both the menu and the decor change slightly from location to location?a painting of Mexico here, a tiled mosaic there. Each one, however, has a full bar where bartenders mix margaritas and flat-screen TVs broadcasting sports overhead.